Third Sunday of Lent
Exodus 3:1-8, 13-15
I Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12
I once again want to welcome all of you today, especially any sinners who may be joining. You are in the right place and in the right pew. Fortunately, all of us are sinners and in need of God’s mercy; myself included. What if sin was a sticker, how many stickers would we be wearing today? Put a few stickers on.
What if God’s mercy was a sticker, how many stickers would we be wearing? Put a gold star on my forehead. All of us are in need of God’s mercy. Our responsorial psalm gives us what we need to know today as we sang, “The Lord is kind and merciful.”
In our first reading from Exodus, God says to Moses in a burning bush, “I am the God of your fathers. I have witnessed their affliction; I have heard their cries, and I know of their suffering.” God wants to free his people from slavery, and show them his mercy, and he asks Moses to be his instrument of mercy. What are the sins that we need to be delivered from today? How do we need to know the Lord is kind and merciful?
St. Paul founded this church in Corinth and they are all people of Greek heritage. These people have no Jewish blood in them yet he addresses them as full brothers and sisters, as God’s Chosen People. Paul is warning them to be mindful of their sinfulness and their need for God’s mercy. He warns them not to be like their brothers and sisters who wandered in the desert for forty years, not mindful of God’s mercy. How are we wandering in our sinfulness and in need of knowing the Lord is kind and merciful?
Our Gospel begins with people telling Jesus that Pilate had some people killed. The reason they give for their deaths is even though we do not know what they did wrong God knows what they did wrong and they deserved death. Jesus would have nothing to do with this understanding and comes back with his own story. Do you think when the tower of Siloam fell, and the 18 people who were standing around it got killed? Do you think they died because of their great sinfulness?
Then he continues with a short parable about a fig tree that after three years was not producing any fruit, so the owner wanted it cut down. The gardener protested to give the tree another chance. He will give it everything it needs to bear from and then if it still doesn’t produce any fruit then he will cut it down.
My friends in Christ, how silly am I to be wearing this star on my forehead for this entire homily! But how silly are we if we do not allow ourselves to wear the mercy of God. There is nothing that God cannot forgive, he is always waiting for us to spring into action and give us his mercy and forgiveness. Lent is the time to know the Lord is kind and merciful. May we come to experience God’s mercy in this community where God has promised to be.